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Lolis Elie


Lolis Elie (1930-2017) is a civil rights attorney. A native of New Orleans, Elie attended Howard University and Dillard University, and later graduated in 1959 from Loyola Law School. After graduation, Elie started a legal practice with Loyola classmate Nils Douglas and Louisiana State University Law School graduate Robert Collins. In 1960 the New Orleans chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) asked Elie and his firm to represent CORE after a sit-in campaign. Elie and his firm defended CORE chapter President Rudy Lombard and three others who were arrested for staging a sit-in protest at the lunch counter of the McCrory Five and Ten Cent Store in New Orleans. They appealed the case to the United States Supreme Court which, in its decision, declared the city's ban on sit-ins unconstitutional. Elie's firm also provided free legal counsel to the Consumers' League, a group of black civil rights activists who protested discriminatory employment practices. Elie was one of seven supporters of the Freedom Riders who met with then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy in 1961, when Kennedy encouraged them to shift their efforts to registering black Southerners to vote. Elie later organized a law firm with white attorney Al Bronstein. The pair argued civil rights cases and also established a training program for new black lawyers.

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